Gemma. (credit: Lapeer County Animal Control)

Gemma. (credit: Lapeer County Animal Control)

LAPEER (WWJ/AP) – A judge has ordered a man to stand trial on animal cruelty charges for shooting his own dog in the head with a crossbow. The dog survived.

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Lapeer County District Judge John Conover on Thursday ruled that there’s enough evidence to send 28-year-old Christopher Scott, of Goodland Township, to trial in circuit courts. His first appearance in trial court is scheduled Aug. 10.

In binding Scott over for trial, Conover said pets today are revered animals and the days of euthanizing a dog “Old Yeller” style behind the barn “are long, long gone.”

Scott’s lawyer argued that his client’s actions were justified, saying Scott was trying to kill the dog because it had killed another dog — a pug — “literally ripping out its throat.” He said Scott had genuine fear because he has five children in the home and young children living next door.

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The 65-pound black-coated mastiff-Labrador mix named Gemma was found wandering in March with an arrow lodged above the left eye. Some reports say she could have been shot with the arrow days before she was discovered. A veterinarian later removed the arrow.

Scott has signed the dog over to Lapeer County Animal Control, which will determine if she is appropriate for adoption. Reports say Gemma has not shown any aggression during the nearly 4 months she’s been at the animal control unit.

Scott faces up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

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